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Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—Branstad determined to make Kim Reynolds the next Iowa governor:

Bleeding Heartland
Governor Terry Branstad confirmed on Iowa Public Television this weekend that he wants Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds to succeed him in office.

Although he added that it's "his intention" to serve an entire sixth term if re-elected this year, his comments are not likely to persuade skeptics (including me) who believe that he would resign early to give Reynolds a chance to run as an incumbent governor in 2018. [...]

Bleeding Heartland has commented before on the Branstad administration's consistent (almost obsessive) branding of the "Branstad-Reynolds team" as a single unit.  I want to emphasize how unprecedented it is for Iowa's governor and lieutenant governor to do so many public appearances together. Traditionally, the lieutenant governor's role has been to help the administration cover more ground. Reynolds' predecessors were sent around the state to attend events that did not fit into the governor's schedule.

The "joined at the hip" scheduling has fueled rumors that Branstad has an undisclosed health problem, requiring Reynolds' presence in case the governor has some kind of episode.

At Progress Illinois, Ellyn Fortino writes—Environmentalists Hold Vigil In Chicago To Protest Keystone XL Pipeline:
state blogs, Progress Illinois
About 100 environmentalists held a vigil outside of the U.S. State Department's Chicago regional office on Monday evening to demand that President Barack Obama reject the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. [...]

Debra Michaud of Tar Sands Free Midwest pointed out that tar sands oil is the "dirtiest transportation fuel on the planet."

At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes—Family Values:
Nevada Progressive
Every so often, we hear politicians crow about their "morality" and "family values". What do they actually mean? And what does it actually mean to millions of American families?

We couldn't help but brainstorm these questions while supposed "defenders of family values" across the nation fought for "family values" like banning second parent adoption, en shrinking workplace discrimination, driving transgender people to suicide, and denying loving couples the freedom to marry. Wait, these aren't "family values"? So why are G-O-TEA politicians falling over each other to fight for policies that espouse anything but "family values"?

At ColoradoPols.com, Colorado Pols writes—Latest U.S. Senate Q-Poll Shows Tightening Race:

Colorado Pols state blog
The same Quinnipiac University Polling Institute that delivered good news for Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper yesterday brings a somewhat different message today for the campaign of incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall [...]

On the surface, there's little for Democrats to be happy about in this poll. Hillary Clinton underperforms relative to conventional wisdom (and other recent polls) against every potential 2016 Republican presidential opponent except Chris Christie–enough to make this poll a bit questionable in our minds. President Barack Obama's disapproval is a very high 59%, which Quinnipiac says is "close to his worst approval rating in any Quinnipiac University state or national poll since he was elected." Fully 60% of respondents oppose the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare."

​But looking closer, there are notable caveats: although the head-to-head matchups for Sen. Udall have generally tightened, his personal approval numbers have improved over last November: split 44% each way then, now at 45-41% in favor.

At Indy Democrat Blog of Indiana, Jon Easter writes—Marion County GOP Putting Everything On Sheriff's Race:
It appears that the Marion County Republican Party is putting its collective energy towards winning one Marion County office this year.
Indy Democrat Blog
I'm not sure how they do it, but it is something they've done before. In 2010, Republicans sunk their heels in and tried to hold on to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office. Governor Mitch Daniels' own general counsel was tapped with the job of keeping the office in the hands of the Republican Party. Mark Massa became the Republican nominee, and Terry Curry prevailed in a crowded field of well-known Democrats finally finishing off Greg Bowes in the 2010 May Primary. Massa started out as the favorite in the General Election campaign, but Curry ended up winning the race with a slow, steady campaign that concentrated on the ground game. Massa's air war turned negative and backfired. It was over.
At The Orange Juice Blog of California, Inge writes—Whistleblowers Are Heroes (And We need More of Them):
There are many other whistleblowers who never make the headlines. These brave individuals put their jobs on the line to speak up about things happening in their workplace that could cause harm to others.

Everett Stern is one of those individuals. He is a former employee of HSBC, a multi national bank with around 7,200 offices in 85 countries including the United States.  He was fired after exposing them for laundering money for drug cartels and terrorist organizations. Stern was hired by HSBC in 2010 as anti-money-laundering compliance officer and put in charge as a specialist on Middle Eastern transactions.  It wasn’t long before Stern figured out that the bank was actually taking money from drug cartels and terrorist organizations while defrauding the US government.

Stern was hired by HSBC even though he had no prior experience on how to look for illegal transactions, or how money laundering operations were done. He wasn’t the only one. He reported in an interview with RT News that none of the employees in that department knew what they were supposed to be looking for.  Stern decided to educate himself so he could do his job better. He went to the library and found information on money laundering. That’s when he figured out that the bank who the U.S. government hired to look for criminal activity was itself doing illegal transactions.

So how did HSBC get away with money laundering? They hired one of the former heads of the counter-intelligence of the FBI to run a department because he knew exactly how to manipulate the system.

At Rural and Progressive of Georgia, Katherine Helms Cummings writes—Where will the next one happen?
Rural and Progressive of Georgia
The Charlotte Observer reports that Duke Energy notified the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources on Sunday afternoon that one of their coal ash ponds at the Dan River Power Station was spilling coal ash waste and toxin contaminated water into the Dan River. The company’s early estimate was that 82,000 TONS of toxic coal ash waste and up to 27 MILLION gallons of water had poured into the river supplying municipal drinking water systems downstream.

Duke Energy officials waited until 4:03 on Monday afternoon to inform the public.

At The Seminole Democrat of Florida, Vin FL writes—Rick Scott's Voter Purge Sequel More Nefarious:
The Seminole Democrat state blog
Ken Detzner took over as Sec. of State when the previous one, Kurt Browning, refused to go along with Rick Scott's incredible assault on voting rights and his voter purge that even Rick Scott admitted was flawed. Recall that Detzner put together a list in 2012 of about 180,000 "potential" noncitizens that conservatives touted to rile up their base. The problem was that it was complete bull*%&. A quick examination showed that the most of the names didn't belong on there. The most fundamental scrutiny of the list had it whittled down to 2600 names. It was then sent to election supervisors, and they found it riddled with errors. Democrats noted it disproportionately targeted Hispanics. It was whittled further down to 207. Then 198. Finally - 85. Keep in mind that this is out of almost 19.5 million people.

And how many prosecutable cases of voter fraud? One. Just one. And he wasn't even a Democrat. (I am gleeful that after all the money was spent they snared only one "gun enthusiast" who probably voted for Scott.)

So what does Rick Scott do for his election this year after such an epic fail? Apparently, weighs his options and decides all the bad publicity is worth trying to purge hundreds of thousands of voters again.

At Louisiana Voice, tomaswell writes—Jindal opposition to broadband Internet expansion to rural areas traced to 2002 ALEC telecommunications ‘model act’:
Louisiana Voices state blog
Two months ago, when the Federal Communications Commission allotted $8 million to expand broadband Internet access in rural Louisiana areas, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu was quick to praise, perhaps a bit prematurely, the “investment” while Gov. Bobby Jindal remained uncharacteristically silent.

Despite Landrieu’s laudatory claim that the funds would “upgrade the digital infrastructure in rural communities,” the $8 million represented only 10 percent of an $80 million grant for Louisiana that was rescinded in October of 2011 because of Jindal’s aversion to what then Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater deemed a “top-down, government-heavy approach that would compete with and undermine, rather than partner with the private sector…”

What Rainwater—and through him, his boss, Jindal—did not acknowledge is that the Jindal administration’s obsession with protecting the private sector at the expense of broadband Internet service to customers in the rural areas of the central and northeastern parts of the state was part of the 12-year-old official position staked out by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in August of 2002.

At Eclectablog, Eclectablog writes—Fired without cause or notification, a former EAA teacher speaks out – “What they are doing is hurting kids in Detroit”:
In the aftermath of the explosive allegations that have arisen in the course of my reporting on the situation in the Education Achievement Authority, the EAA has gone on the attack, writing them off as “anonymous” allegations on a “political blog” as if to suggest that I am making these stories up in an elaborate ruse for political reasons or, worse yet, that the teachers themselves are all lying. It would be an amazing coincidence for the now 15 different teachers with whom I have communicated to all be independently corroborating each other’s stories in order to concoct a false illusion about Governor Snyder’s failed experiment at educating children in our most challenged school districts on the cheap. [...]
Eclectablog logo
Today we have an interview from a teacher who is willing to go public. Delbert Glaze is a veteran teacher who started with the EAA when it first opened in 2012. Like the others, he describes a district in chaos, run by administrators desperate to prove the success of their “Student Centered Learning” (SCL) even as the evidence was mounting that the experiment was a catastrophic disaster. Imagine an education model where the students sit in front of computers for the entire day with a teacher serving essentially as a babysitter. No group instruction. No teacher-led discussions. Just children glued to laptops working on their own. Except in this scenario, there aren’t enough computers for all of the children, many children are acting out, sometimes violently, and teachers are being held accountable for not succeeding though they lack the resources, training, and support they need to succeed.

This is the EAA as described to me by well over a dozen teachers.

At Cottonmouth of Mississippi, Matt Eichelberger writes—Want to know what getting sold out sounds like, Mississippi teachers?
Teachers of Mississippi, you've been told by every politician you meet how important education is to them, and how much they appreciate the work you do.
Cottonmouth of Mississippi
When given the opportunity to show their appreciation, however, some of them refuse to put our money where their mouth is.  Yesterday, a Democratic amendment to Speaker Philip Gunn's sham "teacher pay raise" bill that would have given teachers an across-the-board $5,000 pay raise was voted down.

And rather lustily, I might add.

At Miscellany Blue of New Hampshire, William Tucker writes—Rep. Kyle Tasker opposes his own mental health bill: ‘Crazy people need to face consequences’:
Miscellany Blue
State House Rep. Kyle Tasker (R-Nottingham), a sponsor of legislation that would expand the use of mental health courts, opposes the bill he is sponsoring.

"Crazy people need to face consequences equal or greater than everyone else," he explained in a series of Facebook comments.

House Bill 1442 would allow circuit and superior courts to establish mental health courts, which seek to treat mentally ill, nonviolent offenders rather than incarcerate them.

Tasker objects. “If you are unable to distinguish between obeying and breaking the law you represent a clear and present danger to yourself and the fabric of society as a whole,” he wrote.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So, he's against finance capitalist and banks? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sailorben, NancyWH, Inland Jim, Puddytat
    Tasker objects. “If you are unable to distinguish between obeying and breaking the law you represent a clear and present danger to yourself and the fabric of society as a whole,” he wrote.

    Hard to have a government when one-third of your representatives are insane and the other two-thirds have been sold to the highest bidder.

    by Rikon Snow on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:09:45 AM PST

  •  How VERY GOP of our POTUS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, Puddytat

    to appoint a bundler as new ambassador to Argentina, I believe.. the guy has never been to the country.

    let the silly dancing begin...

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:10:04 AM PST

  •  Props to Tar Sands Free Midwest to opposing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, LinSea, Puddytat

    more than Keystone.

    The real issues for the US are not Keystone -- that's designed to move oil to foreign markets.  The real issue is that we are the largest consumer of tar sands oil.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:25:27 AM PST

  •  the only way (5+ / 0-)

    scott has of even competing in fla is if he like most republicans skews the voting results in his favor.

    its obvious the gop has been stealing elections for decades if not longer and if our democracy is to survive we need to put a stop to this fascist activity now before its too late for us and our democracy.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  Thanks, MB. (6+ / 0-)

    I really enjoy this series.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

    by Dragon5616 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:42:29 AM PST

  •  Regarding Mark Udall in Co....... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Puddytat

    I haven't seen it posted, but his 26 year old son was busted for breaking into cars the other day.  Apparently he is addicted to Heroin.  I'm sure this will get into Republican ads at some point.

    In a perfect world, one where a politician might take a chance, Mark might come out  in favor of changing the drug laws.  Phillip Seymour Hoffman died within a day or so of the son's arrest.

    Why not take this opportunity to campaign on some real change in our drug laws.

    Just my take, but then politicians don't take chances, unless they are really down in the polls.  They have schooled Buck since his last disaster, they hope he will keep his opinions on women to himself, but I'm not sure the guy can handle it.  

  •  Thanks, MB (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arlene, mimi, Eric Nelson, Puddytat

    The gem today? How craven our banking institutions have become, PROVEN:

    So how did HSBC get away with money laundering? They hired one of the former heads of the counter-intelligence of the FBI to run a department because he knew exactly how to manipulate the system.
    Great find. REALLY great find.
  •  I note GOP gurus and pundits have opined that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat

    there is no reason for GOP outreach to the Latino community.  Instead of having to actually compromise any of their principles, the GOP would do better, they counsel, to continue with their traditional three pronged attack on the Hispanic vote by continuing  to cater to the anti-Castro ex-pats (though most are now octogenarians from the first wave), to continue to purge voter roles of any names which appear to be "suspicious" i.e. to have a name which could indicate an undocumented alien and finally to tamp down or cut off all immigration from any Latin American country and to insure that the bulk of future immigration, through quotas, comes from "correct" regions of the world.

    Dunno how that is going to work out from them.  They sort of remind me of the Roman emperor who attempted to command the tides, and then claimed he personally wrestled with Poseidon and won.  

  •  yeah, crazy representatives need for sure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat

    mental health courts and face the consequences. I agree wholeheartedly.

  •  Family values (4+ / 0-)

    Seems to me that living-wages, health care for kids and pregnant women, and reducing domestic violence are clearly family values.

  •  I knew it, fake Dem, anti-union.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, Meteor Blades

    ..pro-voucher, pro-privatize of public education - Michelle Rhee all over this:
    Rhee praises Michigan school reform progress - Thu May 30, 2013

    Rhee is a self-described lifelong Democrat who has clashed with teachers' unions, one of the party's key constituencies. During her speech, she called for honoring the teaching profession but demanding more accountability and rewarding the best teachers with more pay.

    She also supports school voucher programs, which are unpopular with many Democrats who believe they drain money from public schools.

    Rhee praised Michigan's Educational Achievement Authority, which was created to improve the state's lowest-performing schools.

    So Kudos to eclectabog on this.

    Most all of these efforts labeled "for the students" point in one direction so far as I can tell; ending collective bargaining. Just disguised with a front person and made up statistics to commoditize education for profit

    Thx MB

    So with Rick -(I still find it incredible that after a $1.7 billion dollar medicare fraudster was ever elected and not jailed)
    - Scott looking more & more like he himself will finally be the one who will be purged from office It's very good to see whistleblowers taking on where legislators and officials fail to catch wrongdoing..

    Except Duke Energy didn’t use concrete pipes for two thirds of the length of the pipe where the leak continues to spill into the Dan River.
    ..undaunted and keeping an eye on things, exposing the republicans for what they are -frauds and oppressors

    And also too: Three senators Mark Begich (D) Alaska; Kay Hagan (D) North Carolina; Mary Landrieu (D) in tough states are really important to us Dems holding on to the senate (unless there is a better Dems that is).

    These three have an opportunity to choose an issue to get behind to boost their creds/ratings/support.

     Landrieu could make broadband access a winning issue:

    "It’s not complicated."

    So, given Jindal’s cozy relationship with ALEC and given ALEC’s opposition to public participation in expanding broadband Internet service to rural areas in competition with ALEC members, it’s perfectly understandable why Jindal eschewed that “top-down” management of the $80 million grant.
    Landrieu could have millions (?) of young voters just waiting for someone to stand against ALEC and to expand internet access to rural areas

    Darn long winded again - lot going on, good stuff too  

  •  Thanks for the series focusing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Meteor Blades

    on state news.

    Overpass light brigades had actions all over the country to oppose Keystone XL.  Even places like Milwaukee that had wind chills below zero had actions.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:05:16 PM PST

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